Children at some primary and secondary schools in Mashonaland West province today recited Zimbabwe’s national pledge for the first time when schools opened for the second term.
The national pledge has been criticized as some form of political indoctrination by some Zimbabweans, who decided to keep their children at home today in protest.
Most parents, who witnessed the reciting of the national pledge at Sinoia Primary School, were convinced that the exercise was nothing but state propaganda designed to brainwash children.
Silas Musangeya of Chinhoyi’s Mapako low density suburb said Zimbabwe has nothing to show the children the portrayed hard work in the national pledge done to liberate the country from colonial rule.
But others like Mrs. Patience Gororo, who brought her child a gift of a Zimbabwe bird, said the national pledge is good because black people were not privileged to go to school during the colonial era.
Mrs. Gororo said the girl child has every reason to celebrate the work done by Zimbabwe’s forefathers to liberate the country.
Some of the children loved the pledge. One of them, Billy Petros, who is in Grade Six, said he understood the national pledge as a prayer to Zimbabwe’s ancestors to bring blessings to the country.
Some Zimbabweans, who are against the national pledge, argue that it violates the rights of children as enshrined in the supreme law of the country.
In Harare, some school children also recited the national pledge.
At schools visited by Studio 7, pupils assembled and sang the national anthem, then recited the Lords’ Prayers and then the national pledge.
Surprisingly, the pupils recited the pledge so well and at one of the schools, the few parents who turned up to witness the launch clapped hands and seemed to like it.
Others even brought presents for their children as had been directed by the school heads. Some parents like, Gift Hwesa, said he was disappointed the launch of the national pledge.
The Constitutional Court is due to hear the matter on June 3 in which a Harare man is challenging the constitutionality of the government policy directing school pupils to recite the national pledge.
The national pledge reads as follows, ““Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag. Respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvukela.
“We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are proud creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. So I commit to honesty and the dignity of hard work.”
Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku recently dismissed an urgent chamber application by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to stay the reciting of the national pledge in schools until the court makes a ruling on the case. The Constitutional Court will only hear the matter in June.